* October 2nd (Opening week) - Pyramid Lake - Gil Santos
Doug Ouellette, master fly fishing guide at Pyramid Lake, was a guest speaker at our club meeting last March. His talk was about fishing for Lahontan cutthroats at Pyramid in early spring. He also suggested that we should try fishing the lake on opening week, October first. Fish fought harder and their color was more silvery. Having fished the lake for years in the spring, I decided to give it a try this fall.
Not wanting to fish the weekend crowd, we took off October 2nd with boat in tow, heading into the first storm of the season. It rained off and on with light snow over Donner; IÕm now questioning myself, do I really need to do this??
Arriving at Crosby's Lodge Sunday afternoon we ran into Doug. He said we just missed the weekend event with five hundred people attending fly tying demonstrations and various speakers showing different techniques on fishing the lake, and mentioned fishing was good but mostly small fish.
Getting our permits at the ranger station, the clerk told us to be careful, as the wind was still blowing hard with the storm. Two guys in pontoon boats were blown off shore out on to the lake. One was rescued and emergency crews were still looking for the other guy. Emergency vehicles were standing by expecting the worst.
Monday morning was cloudy and windy. The scene at Pelican launch ramp reminded me of opening day of salmon season at our local harbor, when the bay had salmon; somewhat controlled chaos. Being patient, which isn't one of my virtues, we managed to launch the boat. Heading north around Pelican point we attempted to fish or I should say Pat did. I had my hands full trying to control our drift with wind gusting 20-plus mph, trying to stay clear of other boats. We hooked five fish but only landed one. Wind picked up and it started to rain, we said the hell with this, let's head in. It was a repeat scene back at the ramp, in reverse.
Tuesday morning, same scenario at the launch ramp, wind blowing harder now. We launched but could not get around the point. We tried fishing off Pelican beach. The wind wasn't having any of this, so we called it quits again. Decided to go to Sparks to have lunch and replace my prop as the concrete ramp took a bite out of one of the blades.
Wednesday morning, what a difference a day makes. The wind died down. We made it around the point, fishing picked up, with fifteen fish landed. Feeling better now, glad we made the trip.
Thursday morning, Fish Gods are with us. Light winds and sunny, headed north to Warrior Point. Fishing along narrow beaches with steep drop offs, finding fish at each location. Our best spot was around the corner just north of Windless. Total for the day, twenty-one. Biggest overall one 8-pounder, two 7-pounders, and the rest averaged 3-5 pounds. Not bad for a couple of seniors.
Pat was using an 8-weight rod with a 300 grain integrated line. I was tossing a 30-foot T-14 shooting head on a 7 weight saltwater rod. Leaders seven ft. fifteen-pound test, typical Pyramid two-fly set up.
Flies used were small clouser no. 4 60-degree jig hooks in white with a little flash, top wing grey, blue, or tan as the dropper. Point fly no. 10 black balanced leech.
Doug was right about the fish. Their girths were bigger, colors more silvery and they fought harder. I'm still nursing line cuts on my fingers as I write. It was nothing like we see in the spring with their ribs showing and in their dark spawning colors.
* Early Fall - Pyramid Lake - Jeff Goyert
With dreams of giant Pilot strain Lahontan Cutthroat trout dancing in our heads, Jim Tolonen and I headed up to Pyramid Lake the second weekend of the season which had opened the first of October. We had signed up for a Pyramid float tube clinic put on by Rob Anderson of Reno Outfitters. Rob, along with Chris Wharton and Chris Edison, provided guidance to our group of 15 anglers they hosted for the weekend. They provided a wealth of information on flies, leaders, rigging, casting, and general Pyramid float tube techniques. They also handed out swag bags and put on a couple of great lunches.
A base camp had set up just above of Monument Rock at the north end of the lake. Be advised that parts of the road by the beach are very soft; care should be exercised to avoid an expensive visit from the local tow service. It is a great place to fish as there is a steep and sudden dropoff very close to the beach.
Normally early fall at Pyramid means warm water near the beach which results in the concentration of the fish in the deeper water; such conditions are perfect for the use of float tubes. Veterans of Pyramid know that the word "normally" is hard to define at the lake. This year the water had cooled early, which brought the fish in shallow so as to be within casting range of shore. The float tube action took place in 25 to 30 feet of water rather than the "normal" 50 foot plus depths.
Most of the action was confined to the first 4 or 5 hours of the day with the first hour off the beach be productive with the balance of the activity deeper off the float tubes later in the morning. Post lunch afternoons were best spent on a serious siesta with a little bit of a snap late in the day. Virtually all the fish were taken stripping woolly huggers on sink tip lines with a few taken on beetles.
Jim and I were not blessed with a giant Pilot but we were able to take a dozen fish between us. The weather was nice, too nice for that matter, but we will look forward to a trip back to Pyramid in the spring.
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